Lexical UnitsScenesConcept HierarchiesSound ExamplesParallel Texts

Steaua hold their nerve

Thursday, 30 September 2004

By Stoyan Georgiev at Bulgarska Armia stadium

[1] FC Steaua Bucuresti withstood a late rally from hosts PFC CSKA Sofia to reach the UEFA Cup group stage 4-3 on aggregate after a draw in Bulgaria tonight.

Early lead

[2] Steaua took command of the game early on and soon extended the 2-1 advantage they held from the first leg. In the 14th minute CSKA captain Todor Yanchev conceded a free-kick in midfield, and Steaua worked the ball forward quickly to set up Daniel Oprita, who gave home side's goalkeeper Ivailo Ivanov no chance with a fine header.

Turning point

[3] CSKA had a chance to get back in the tie after 31 minutes but Velizar Dimitrov struck the post with a penalty. Within three minutes Steaua had doubled their lead on the night and extended their aggregate advantage to 4-1. A quick counterattack ended with Sorin Paraschiv scoring with a fine angled finish.

Sakaliev strike

[4] That effectively killed off the tie but CSKA refused to be swept aside and pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time, when Stoiko Sakaliev scored the goal of the game with a ferocious volley that crashed in off the crossbar.

Munteanu role

[5] Buoyed by that strike, CSKA pushed continually for a second, but, led by the experienced Dorinel Munteanu, Steaua managed to absorb the pressure while keeping CSKA on their toes with several dangerous counterattacks.

Frantic finish

[6] However, the home side finally managed to level the score on the night after 76 minutes thanks to some predatory finishing from Emil Gargorov. The goal set the stage for a frantic finale, and Steaua goalkeeper Vasili Khomutovski came to his team's rescue with a superb point-blank save from Sakaliev in the 80th minute as the 1985/86 European champions survived to enter Tuesday's draw.

Steaua's Sorin Ghionea (left) leaps with Stoyko Sakaliev of CSKA